The consequences of a fatal accident and no car insurance
In almost every fatal accident, the driver of the vehicle responsible for the death of another person could be guilty of culpable homicide.
A guilty verdict in a fatal accident like this could lead to a jail term of up to five years.
There are other consequences of a culpable homicide ruling. These include the suspension or cancellation of the driver’s license, a hefty fine, or both imprisonment and a fine.
On average, 36 people die on South African roads every day.
Common causes of fatal accidents
- Dangerous and reckless driving
- Alcohol abuse
- Smooth tyres
- Faulty brakes
- Jay walking
No insurance and a fatal accident
While vehicle insurance cannot safeguard motorists involved in a fatal accident from the law, it does offer financial protection.
If Driver A is involved in a fatal accident and is responsible for the damages caused to Driver B’s vehicle, his insurance will cover those costs, dependent on the conditions of the policy selected.
Let us say the court fins Driver A guilty of culpable homicide. Not only will he / she face the possibility of a hefty fine. The driver will also have to find the money to pay for the damages caused to the vehicles.
At the very least, motorists should invest in Third Party insurance to protect them from the worst consequences of a fatal accident. This form of insurance covers the cost of damages to another vehicle.
What is the legal procedure?
Ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse, and there is a growing consensus for the need to better inform the public about the legalities surrounding fatal traffic accidents.
One of the biggest causes of fatal accidents involves driving under the influence of alcohol. And South Africa’s investigative know-how in this area realises this a is serious flaw.
The Government is under growing pressure to:
- Introduce better regulatory methods for testing blood samples
- Upgrade specialised training of investigating officers handling serious traffic offenses
In terms of South African law, a person is innocent until found guilty in a court of law. However, proving guilt is one of the most difficult aspects of a culpable homicide charge and lack of specialised investigative officers is exacerbating the situation.
Pinning blame depends on the evidence. It also depends on the quality of work, or rather lack of it, is the area of expertise.
Unlike murder, which is intentional, a person found guilty of culpable homicide is said to have unlawfully killed the deceased which is equivalent to involuntary manslaughter.
So there are grey areas in the investigation process leading up to a possible culpable homicide conviction. However, every South African motorist should, at the very least, be obliged to have Third Party insurance cover.
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